Long before Ladybug was eating solids and was still a newborn, I remember having this vision of her digging into her food, smooshing it all around her face, and making a mess. That’s what all baby’s do, right? I was excited to whip up some homemade purees and eventually finger foods. Unfortunately, mealtime with Ladybug has been a struggle, and from what I’ve heard, we aren’t alone.
At 6 months of age, we went ahead and started out with baby oatmeal (I was a little paranoid about the studies on baby rice cereal and traces of arsenic, so it seemed a good alternative) and my baby loved it! She had been showing interest in food for months and was perfectly ready for solids. She took to it so well that we decided it was time to start purees after about 2-3 weeks. To play it safe, we started out with sweet potatoes as suggested by other moms. She really enjoyed them. But after eating them for two days, we started to notice she hadn’t had a dirty diaper. No worries, we just stopped with the solids and continued with breast milk. After 5 days, we started to get concerned. When 5 days turned into a week, I started to worry. My baby girl was definitely constipated. After a call to the nurse we tried every home remedy. Prunes, pear juice with water, warm baths, abdominal massage, “bicycle legs”, you name it. Finally, at ten days without a poo, we took her in. Her doctor sent us home with suppositories which I was NOT comfortable with. And then, before we even attempted to use them, she miraculously went! Almost as if she sensed what was coming and didn’t want to go through it (or put mom through it for that matter). So now, we were back on track and ready to start solids once again.
Why the detailed constipation story you may ask? Well, due to the setbacks and hesitation (fearing it would happen again) on my end, my daughter has been a later bloomer in the food department. Her late-in-the-game teething probably played a role as well, as she barely had 2 teeth by her first birthday. From what other moms and doctors have shared, the food aversion could be due to teething or new behaviors (independence, the ability to refuse and say “no”). I believe these factors hindered baby girl’s interest in foods and as she learned to protest, it only became more frustrating. And as an excited new mom, I attempted to make my own purees for her from scratch which she was not interested in either. If the color or consistency of the puree or finger food wasn’t to her liking, she would have nothing to do with it. She became my “picky little eater”.
Somehow, at 15 months old, I have managed to find a few finger foods that Ladybug loves such as shredded cheese, cheerios and diced banana. She also enjoys garlic hummus, pureed black beans, peanut butter and yogurt. So we really have come a long way and for that, I am thankful. In place of solids, Ladybug prefers to nurse. And although my milk is more nutritious than any food she could learn to eat, allowing her to skip regular food meals isn’t practical, convenient or good practice in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my girl is getting the health benefits from the breast milk, and hope to continue for a while. But at her age, she takes A LOT more milk and it really wears me out! So, all that said, we will continue our food trials. And as I spend time and energy making and cleaning up foods that usually all end up on the floor (sheesh!), I have to remind myself that this won’t last forever and that my daughter will learn to enjoy food one day.